horowitzsam1You can hardly shake a lulav without seeing the latest viral bar mitzvah video online. It’s been hyperlinked by Heeb, the Dallas papers, Paper Magazine, MSN, TV Guide, buzz feeds, nearly every jewish weekly, and any site trying to drum up extra pageviews in the kelev days of August.

Yes, Sam Horowitz became a bar mitzvah last Fall 2012. Yes, he has a great burlesque production number at his party (see below). But, here is the more-Jewlicious backstory, the story of a philanthropic kid and his family. Let’s Shep some Nachas, bitches.

In the video, Sam descends to the stage of dancers. Every media outlet says he is dancing a burlesque to celebrate his Bar Mitzvah. What they don’t realize is that his parshat was Toldot (November 11, 2012). His portion was on Isaac and Rebekah suffering for two decades without children. Sam’s descending curtain is a womb. The child (Sam Horowitz) is revealed (Jacob and Esau as one) in mid dance. The dance is obviously the hope for peace in the Middle East. His three finger points at the end… the three parties involved in peace negotiations, naturally. Also, the Maftir Aliyah is the story of Jacob going to Laban to marry one of his daughters, and Esau taking a wife as well. This is why Sam is dancing with the mixed multitude of women. Sam pointing his finger three times is also reflective and symbolic of the Haftorah portion by the prophet Malachi, in which he tells the High Priests, “True teaching was in his mouth, and injustice was not found on his lips. In peace and equity he went with Me, and he brought back many from iniquity.”

Sam Horowitz is one of a dozen grandchildren of Carol and Steve Aaron of Dallas. Mr. Aaron founded Steve’s Transport, a refrigerated trucking company, and his family resides in one of Greater Dallas’ top twenty highest value homes. They are also among Texas’ top philanthropists and tree lovers. The JCC bears the name of the Aaron Family, and they led the capital gifts to Congregation Shearith Israel. UT-Austin’s Hillel is a recipient of Aaron family gifts as are Children’s Medical Center of Dallas and National Jewish Health (the old Jewish T.B. Respiratory Center) in Denver. Their bequest to the JCC was $15 million. Steve calls it “just an opening gift.” (Steve, how about an opening gift for Jewlicious Fests?) Carol is a fourth generation Jewish Texan; her father ran a meatpacking plant; Steve moved from Ohio to Texas at the age of 2, and his father wholesaled RTW women’s clothes (wink wink, Neiman Marcus)

Sam’s mother, Angela (Aaron) Horowitz, said that Sam has wanted to perform a dance at his bar mitzvah for the past six years, ever since he saw the Cheetah Girls (You’re So Raven) perform when he was seven. Sam, who has an agent and has appeared in commercials, was the lead in a musical at the Dallas JCC this Summer. He also led several charity projects, including one for Tsunami relief, in past years.

A 7 minute back-story reel that includes a Carly Rae Jepsen lip sync is HERE. (Thank you Elixir Entertainment of Dallas (known for Jewish family wedding and simcha videos)

Is he as good as Atlanta’s Daniel Blumen? (see below). Yes. I would like to see Daniel and Sam in a duet.

Cheetah Girls perform Bollywood Style below:

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  • Rabbi David Wolpe of Los Angeles and Washington DC replies in The Washington Post.


    he egregious, licentious and thoroughly awful video that is circulating ‘celebrating’ a Bar Mitzvah contains so much that is offensive that it requires restraint to hold oneself to three ways in which this display slaughters the spirit. Still, in the face of excess what could be more appropriate than abstinence? So here are only three of the worst things about this travesty:
    1. To turn a ceremony of spiritual maturation into a Vegas showgirl parade teaches a child sexualization of spirit. Apparently nothing in our society militates against the narcissistic display of short skirted dancers ushering an adolescent into unearned stardom. If it is fetching, it is worthy. A beat justifies all else, and the rapt attention of an (dare I hope incredulous?) audience, is its own justification. Here is a spectacle on the order of throwing Christians to lions — that is, toss belief into the arena of appetite. Everything is fair game if the show is good enough. The usual phrase set above the ark in a synagogue is “know before whom you stand.” Perhaps it is time to change it to “Flesh Vincit Omnia.” Rockette Ruach……….

  • I saw the Good Morning America interview and Sam does in fact seem like a nice kid. But Rabbi Wolpe does kind of have a point. These celebrations of excess have absolutely nothing to do with Judaism or the Bar Mitzvah ceremony. I mean, seriously… how awful is that video really? Pretty fucking awful.

  • Yeah, yeah, yeah, girls dancing in tights, crazy beat and so on. So what? First of all, we’ve all seen cheesy bar mitzvah videos and it just so happens this family can afford an expensive cheesy video. That should not be held against them. The young lad led a service, read the Torah, thanked his parents and even had the good grace to be very thankful about the entire set-up and party.

    So Wolpe and the naysayers, particularly those who have something nasty to say, should chill out. This was about self-expression. The boy is clearly interested in the arts and drama, and this was an opportunity for his parents to give him a very special gift on a very special day. Guess what? He’ll never forget it. I know many kids who do the service and Torah reading and the next day they forget everything and simply leave any possibility of a Jewish life. That doesn’t appear to be the case here.

    Let’s make an effort not to be so disrespectful as to ruin what was a nice effort by a 13 year old because we think we know better.

  • I said he seemed like a nice kid TM! I just think this is a little over the top. To say the least. Me? I like those rich kids who use their Bar Mitzvah as an opportunity to help those less fortunate – like the kid who bought an MDA ambulance with his Bar Mitzvah cash or the one who bought soccer balls for Ethiopian olim. Again, Sam seems really sweet – but just because you can afford it, doesn’t mean you ought to buy it… What can I say? I’ll repeat, Sam seems like a sweet kid and his parents have every right to spend their money however they like. The question is should we celebrate this gaudy excess? And what portion of the people watching the video think it’s sweet and what portion are horrified by the trivialization of the Bar Mitzvah ceremony and the over the top excess?

  • Well, you don’t know whether he did anything for any organization, but considering how involved his family appears to be in supporting the community, I would guess that Sam has seen his share of charitable activities.

    Regarding the party, I think we should celebrate when a Jewish family is engaged enough in Jewish life to have their child go through this process. And the party does not indicate anything. This is no different than any bar mitzvah party except for the scale (and the tights on those female dancers). These are edited videos and there is no way for us to assess how shallow or deep this family’s members are. What is certain is that this young man has balls to get on a stage and try to do this in front of his friends.

  • Were you being sarcastic about the Parchat Toldot metaphor? I couldn’t tell. Do you think any of those girls made that kid a man after the show, if you know what I mean?

  • [Posted from another person on youtube]:

    Parent’s money. Parent’s time. Not? your money. Not your time.
    Any questions?